When producer Wyatt “Wyldfyer” Coleman says he started making beats in “the lab,” he’s not just tossing around industry jargon. Before he brought the world beats like Jay-Z and Nas’s “Black Republicans” or Kendrick Lamar’s “Kush and Corinthians,” the Philly native was pioneering the mobile studio—sort of.
“We would be at the Spelman computer lab, me and my homeboy Chris. Spelman always had the better computers because they had the Cosbys funding them,” says the Morehouse and Georgia Tech alumnus of his humble beatmaking beginnings.
“I didn’t have a laptop so I had Fruity Loops on a 100MB ZIP disk. I had to install it each time. I’d bang away for a few hours and then delete the program from the computer. It was a demo and with the demo you could export the project but you couldn’t save it. So when I made my beats I had to finish ‘em up, bruh. I had to finish the beat or I’d never hear it again. Low budget? I’ve been there.”
Before Wyldfyer (a nickname given to him by one of his Fraternity brothers) was employing MacGuyver-esque maneuvers surrounded by beautiful co-eds he pieced together his first instrumental using a double tape deck, a CD player and a Casio Keyboard.
“I just ran it all together using the drums from Gang Starr’s ‘Take It Personal.’”
His technical acumen would lead to opportunities down the line. In 2004 he put together a remix of Jay-Z’s Black album, The Black Album Classik, that would serve as his unofficial demo. His cousin placed it into the hands of veteran producer St. Nick who was working with So So Def at the time.
“He heard it and told me to come through the studio and play some other joints,” says Wyldfyer. “He said I was mad talented and told me to come through the next day and hang out, played beats. He literally taught me how to produce in a session. He does primarily R&B but I learned to produce through him; Engineering in a session, how to stack vocals, how to pan stuff. He took me to L.A. in 2005 and let me tag along for the Grammys. We were working on Toni Braxton and JoJo. She’s dope.”
One night St. Nick invited Wyldfyer out bowling with legendary producer L.E.S and he offered to build a website for him in hopes of getting him to hear some beats. The gamble has paid off handsomely.
Nodfactor hit up the “super-producer in the making” to find out what his next moves might be. If unreleased Biggie records and working on Detox interest you then read on.
Nodfactor: Did you know “Black Republicans” was going to be the first collab between Nas and Jay-Z?
Wyldfyer: When me and St. Nick were in L.A in 2005 they had a rapper named Good Fella that was signed to Blackground Records. I had not met him so when I was making beats for him I automatically thought mafia type stuff. That’s the direction I went with in the samples. I didn’t like Scarface that much, because it was too 80s. But the Godfather soundtrack really stood out. I made the beat and gave him the beat CD and never heard back from him.
Then I met LES through St Nick, we were out bowling one time. I gave him my Black Album remix and built his website for him hoping I’d get to give him some beats. He let me send him some beats and when I sent him the “Black Republicans” beat he was like “yo, I’m gonna make Nas do this.” He sent it to Nas and Nas loved it. They were working on it in the studio and Jay comes in while Nas is working on it. Jay was loving it and asks Nas “What do you think of this?” and Nas was like “Say it in the booth.” And that’s how it happened. They liked the beat and they rolled with it.
But that wasn’t even your first record with Nas, correct?
I did “Death Anniversary” before the Def Jam deal. That was going to be a Sony record but it fell to the way side.
And after Hip-Hop Is Dead you had “War Is Necesssary” as well?
LES had the hook up through Tony Perez and they said they were looking for stuff for the Grand Theft Auto soundtrack. I did that one from scratch. I had the drums sound a little Dilla-esque, real break-beat feeling. I always wanted Nas and Jay to work with Dilla. Nas sent the vocals over and built the beat around it.
Speaking of vocals, you produced the original version of “Hope” but it ended up being an acapella on the album. What happened there?
“Hope” was turned in the second to last week along with the “MOB” joint but there was a sample that couldn’t be cleared. We didn’t have time. We submitted a replayed version but they didn’t want any problems so they made it an acapella. It was the Friends of Distinction joint, “And I Love Him.” They ended up clearing that same sample for “Maybach Music 1”. There just wasn’t time for us.
So did you still get a check for that?
It’s just a little bit of publishing but I think Nas and Chrisette got most of that cuz it was just vocals. I take pride in it because I came up with the concept. The sample says “never never die” and I scratched in hip-hop so that hip-hop will never die. And that’s what they actually made the song about. So I feel good about it.
LES got you another hook-up with the Biggie Duets project as well, right? You did a remix to Notorious B.I.G. “What You Want.”, but it didn’t make the album.
I actually have another one that I can’t release yet. It didn’t make the album so it would be an unreleased Biggie song that no one’s ever heard.
There’s Biggie vocals that Puff hasn’t raped yet?
Yup. I’ll double check. It’s the slow flow Biggie. It might just be a verse, which is why he didn’t put it out. I’m not that thirsty to put it out there and ruin my career. That was when I was working closely with LES.
After that you linked up with another one of my favorite MCs, Ludacris to produce “I Do It For hip-Hop” and “Last Of A Dying Breed.”
I met a gentleman by the name of DJ Nabs through a friend who was managing me at the time. We were doing some work with Nabs’ artist and I asked him about Ludacris. So Nabs shopped some beats to Luda, we were going to do some management type stuff but it didn’t work out. But that’s the homey and he looked out. Ludacris picked two.
I gave him like 30 beats and he picked some different beats for him. My original name for that beat was “NasGame Oldschool” cuz at the time Nas and the Game were vibing real hard. This was ’06 or ’07. I was trying to make it sound vintage hip-hop but I was trying to pioneer a new sound where you start off with a break-beat but on the verse you switch it to a south beat. I wonder if that’s what caught Luda’s ear. I never thought you had to clear breakbeats but I just went ahead and did it with original drums. I love the version with the breakbeat in it though. Then he put Nas and Jay-Z on it, that’s just a blessing right here.
So how do you keep getting all of the Nas/Jay-Z collabos?
God is my manager, bruh. Me and NO ID were joking around one time cuz he did “Success” and we were saying “we’re the only ones that had Nas/Jay-Z collabos.” I don’t know what made Luda get Nas and Jay-Z so that was just a blessing…
Because you’re in the illluminati..
Yes! [laughs] That’s why I’m running rap right now, can’t you tell?
Yup. You and the Brooklyn guys seem to get along because you’ve done some work with Sha Stimuli, too. “In Between.”
I met Stimuli through Mike Parker who was managing me at the time, when the whole Luda thing went through. I had sent Sha Stimuli beats back in the Dynamic Producer days. Never really heard back. But he’s ill. He doesn’t like Jay-Z comparisons, but he’s Jay-Z ill without the same opportunities. I’m gonna put that out there. It could just as easily have been him from Brooklyn had he got the same looks.
That Kendrick Lamar beat for “Kush and Corinthians” is crazy. But you say there is a little déjà vu around your work with him?
LES and I were working with J-Rock when he was signed to Warner. LES sent out a bunch of beats. So when I met Kendrick and J-Rock in Atlanta a few years ago, all the beats that I played they knew already. He had so many of my records that he’d written songs to. It’s natural chemistry. “Kush and Corinthians” is actually the beat that I used for the intro to my Black Album in 2004. That’s his beat though. I just made it before I knew him.
So why are you not on “Watch The Throne.”?
Jay-Z loves my music, but people around Jay-Z are very guarded of him. Maybe it’s out of respect they don’t want to just run and give him stuff . Maybe they don’t know how they can capitalize of you yet so they don’t put you on. That’s how this industry works. Very seldom do you find someone who will pass your beats along and not want anything for it.
What’s the latest on the Nas album? He’s got fools going nuts with that Salaam Remi track, “Nasty”.
I sent them some beats. I’m trying to actually get in the studio with him. Nas works here and there and accumulate songs. My homeboy at Def Jam told me not to worry about it though. I don’t know how deep they are into the project.
I wish I could executive produce a Nas record. I don’t need any of my beats on there. I just need DJ Khalil, Nottz, Focus, Needlz, Seige Monstrosity, Bink! And Just Blaze and Justice League. That would be the perfect Nas record. You could throw Preemo on there if you want. That would give everybody what they want.
I think Nas is really into the vibe. He and Salaam have great chemistry. Today you don’t really get the chance to get in the studio as much. So I’m curious to see what it sounds like.
You mentioned Focus just now. A little birdy says he’s out west working on Detox. Are you going to let him have all the fun?
One of the artists me and Focus we’re working on is Kida. And recently he’s gotten Dr. Dre’s attention and he’s been working on Detox heavy. Focus is out there now. So I’ve decided that I’m going to work on some joints for that. I think Dre is on some hip-hop stuff right now. I’m trying not to use any piano, because I’m sure people have been sending him piano beats. If I go to L.A. I’m gonna tell him to detox back to hip-hop beats from what the popular sound is.
I’ve got another artist named AP that my boy Steve-O from best of Both offices is working on. Of course Kendrick Lamar. I’m trying to grab the next generation. Same way Boi-1da and 40 came up with Drake.
So what are you making beats on these days?
Right now I’m working in Logic. I’ve got a couple thousand dollar keyboards that I need to figure out what to do with. I’ve got a Motif that costs $2300 and I haven’t used it in close to a year. I keep it simple. I was still sequencing drums in FL Studio, but I don’t even do that as much. For the stuff I’m working on “1,2,1,2” is too basic so I want the drums to hit like a live drum. So I’m using either stock drums or this Korg Pad Kontrol. It has a little function that makes it sound like a real drum roll. My boy Blue just showed me Maschine finally. What I was shown was pretty cool I must say. But you gotta pick something and master it. Some guys out there their hobby is getting the latest equipment, but the music doesn’t progress. “I got the MPC 10000 and they ain’t made that yet.” Doesn’t matter what you use it’s how you make it.
9th Wonder always says, “It’s the man, not the machine.”
All of us Fruity Loops guys used to say that. I said it too. [laughs]. It is true. There’s cats on MPCs that think they’re official not doing anything with it. All the hot young producers are killing it with Fruity Loops. Lex Luger, Boi-1der. I thought I was doing something with Fruity Loops. Then I heard about 9th and Little Brother and I was like “oh that’s dope.” Then it blew up. It’s the easiest, cheapest thing to use. I remember FL Studio 5. I did “Black Republicans” on that. So I don’t want to hear anything about how expensive your equipment is.
You’ve obviously made some good moves. What advice do you have on the business side of the production game?
I had a conversation with Shaka Zulu once and he was saying that you have to give up a little to get a little. My thing is don’t be scared to sacrifice if you can project yourself forward because of it. It’s hard to shop beats because they’ve dumbed down the beat selection [process]. It’s hard to be unique enough for them to take a chance on you. So if you can find a dope artist, roll with them. Put out projects and both of you are going to get better together. And if you’re lucky enough to meet a more established producer who will take you on, and give you your credits, that’s a good look, too. L.E.S never tried to take any credits, just took me under his wing and taught me about sampling and chopping beats. I wasn’t signed to him or anything. And don’t forget that it’s all negotiable. People are like “I don’t want them to take my credits or my publishing.” They can’t take that from you, you have to give it. You have to agree.
Follow Wyldfyer on Twitter @Wyldfyer